By Stan Silliman
WELL, GAG ME WITH A SPORK
And I know what you’re going to say: “What do weird looking eating utensils have to do with sports?” We’ll get there. There’s an association between sports and sporks. And just so we’re clear on this, never confuse a spork with a foon. As in, stick a foon in me, I’m doon… unless you happen to be Scottish.
Precisely, sporks are those little fork-spoon combinations first patented in the U.S. in 1978. The word “spork” was first trademarked in 1952. Backpackers, in order to save space, carry light weight (aluminum or titanium) sporks when climbing or crashing in your back bedroom. If you waken in the middle of the night and find strange serrated marks in your pudding you’ll know a spork carrier has been in the area, most likely a backpacker.
Relating the fact that the largest known spork is a six foot long critter utilized by the Navy in meal preparation gets us into the sports area. Enterprising mid-shipmen found they could take these giant sporks, tie them to their arms and hands and swim with them.
In some cases the sailors, after spork swimming, found they increased their real swimming times by ten percent. So instead of fins and flippers, used by frogmen, the handles were cut off the kitchen sporks for both the feet and hands and the swimming sailors became sporksmen. If you ever hear the statement “Sailor Joe is quite the Sporksman” you’ll know where that came from.
Let’s never say Navy men are not enterprising, because when spork swimming in the deep and catching a mahi-mahi, they could eat with the very tools they used to grab the fish. Again, enterprising multi-tasking, conservatory activities: even more so when musically inclined sailors discovered that after eating a delicious meal they caught themselves, they could entertain the rest of the crew by playing the sporks. It’s a little like playing the spoons except in the upright “bass” position.
Finally, this is where it gets weird and even more into sports. Long tours on a ship lead some Navy guys to play deck games. That is how “sporkball” was born. The six foot long sporks are shortened into bats with a version of stickball created.
Octopuses are used for bases and the pitcher usually has a supply of mackerel… and when there’s a foul ball, it’s a really foul ball.
On the other side of the ship we can find a game of “sporketball,” another enterprising invention created by Ensign Kyzcwark. In this game the sporks are used as racquets with either tennis balls or rolled up paint balls collected from years of scraped hulls.
Like I said, let’s never say Navy folk are not enterprising people. They’ve taken these giant kitchen utensils, improved their swimming, improved their fish catching, made music, played competitive games with makeshift equipment and did it all without appearing gay.
Sporks and sports go together. You now know why. When you’re at KFC or Taco Bell and you unwrap your little plastic spork and you’re tempted to play a little game of “table spork hockey” with your muffin, go right ahead. That is, unless you might feel like a fool. In that case, read the first letters of each of the above paragraphs.
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